90L comes close to being the season's first named storm

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 5:30 PM GMT on May 23, 2009

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The large extratropical storm (90L) that has been pounding Florida, the Bahamas, and Haiti this week with heavy rain and high surf has moved ashore over Mississippi. Last night and this morning, the storm put on an impressive burst of heavy thunderstorm activity and came close to becoming a subtropical or tropical depression. Winds at the Fort Morgan, AL station were 44 mph, gusting to 52 mph, and winds at Dauphin Island, Alabama coastal station were sustained at 39 mph, gusting to 48 mph at between 8am and 10am EDT this morning. While these winds were in excess of the 39 mph threshold of tropical storm force, both measurements were taken at elevations higher than the international wind measurement standard of ten meters, so the top measured winds of 90L were actually slightly less than tropical storm force. Had 90L spent another six hours over water, it very likely would have been declared a tropical/subtropical depression/storm.

The circulation around 90L continues to mean rain for Florida, but the rains will be lessening today. Rainfall amounts as high as 28 inches were measured this week in Northern Florida at Brunnell. Rainfall amounts of 2 - 3 inches have accumulated along the Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida Panhandle coasts from 90L so far (Figure 1).


Figure 1. Estimated rainfall from the Mobile, AL radar.

There are no other threat areas in the Atlantic to discuss today, so have a great weekend, and I'll have a new blog post by Tuesday.

Jeff Masters

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Aqua, we will see just how long it is before some blogger in here tries to "nail" me to the side of their house. I remember those talks couple years back.
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Quoting aquak9:
well, lopa...we were terribly dry to begin with. But, those are just dates on a calender...if Season™ wants, it can start early...I don't think it uses a proper man-made calender.

Coupla weeks this way or that, probably doesn't make that big of a difference.


Geez my post are on a serious delay!
Well when I say dry I mean drought conditions..
In May we only had 1-2" of rain for the whole month and most of the time it came at or near the end of the month..
In 2005(wilma,katrina) that was the wetest spring and summer I ever seen in a long time but May was very very dry.
Anyways it was talk about on the boards last year like I said not sure if there is any substance to this data or not.
Last year was very dry for us in South Florida and this year until this storm came 10 days ago was dry also..
I just hope the idiots at the Lake don't drain it again to prevent levi failure.
They need to spend some of the 115 million dollars they got from the Seminoles to fix the levis..
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:


Yeah, I remember how Drak tracked that thing along the whole dang African continent. Very interesting system to say the least.


She was a fun system to track.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30830
456 I remember that being said earlier this year that we will see a less active CV season with alot more storms forming much like 90L was trying to do. I believe like we saw with 04 & the freakish season of 05.
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Welcome Home, plywood.
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National Hurricane Preparedness Week

Hurricane Preparedness Week during 2009 will be held May 24th through May 30th.

History teaches that a lack of hurricane awareness and preparation are common threads among all major hurricane disasters. By knowing your vulnerability and what actions you should take, you can reduce the effects of a hurricane disaster.



The goal of this Hurricane Preparedness Web site is to inform the public about the hurricane hazards and provide knowledge which can be used to take ACTION. This information can be used to save lives at work, home, while on the road, or on the water.
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aqua, something tells me that I am going to be burying my head in the sand soon. Just one of those itches I get every so often, and its usually right on the money (no comments needed from the peanut gallery on that one) as to when a storm is going to form or not. That low that K8 speaks about, is something interesting to watch for now.
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Quoting extreme236:


Last year's CV season was insane with Bertha so early last year.


THis year will experience a less active CV season due to the combinations of a drier ITCZ, below average November-May African Rainfall, lower SSTs along Africa and anomalously weaker AEJ.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
Quoting extreme236:


Last year's CV season was insane with Bertha so early last year.


Yeah, I remember how Drak tracked that thing along the whole dang African continent. Very interesting system to say the least.
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15950
Like I have said before, this is what happens when you take a blogger who returns from hibernation, give him a weekend in which its rainy and nothing much to do and let him at a keyboard.
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Visible from a couple of hours ago.
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15950
Quoting plywoodstatenative:
mind someone telling me what an AEW is, thats one term I do not remember. And I thought that the SAL was not supposed to be as active as it appears to be now?


AEW= African Easterly Wave.
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thanks for the responses to the question, everyone

plywood, yeah I'm thinking '04. Geez we were lucky to even get a 2-week break...did we even get one?

Hope they have a more interesting secondary list of names this year; those greek letters were ridiculous.
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
Very strong surge of SAL off the coast. Im pretty sure we wont see as many AEWs this year as we saw last year.



Last year's CV season was insane with Bertha so early last year.
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Yeah a wet May in Florida usually translates into the average upper trough setting up near the east coast for the summer, directing most storms away from Florida, but as Drak pointed out 90L was just a coincidence this time, so be ready for anything.
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mind someone telling me what an AEW is, thats one term I do not remember. And I thought that the SAL was not supposed to be as active as it appears to be now?
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Quoting K8eCane:
im more concerned with a surface low moving north from bahamas
Do u mean in the general sense, or the one right now. . .
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22728
Cause I know that alot of people are saying that at least my region is due for a storm. What factors are used to determine a set mean or ratio for how long one could expect to see a Cat 3+ storm vs just a regular Hurricane. Would be interested to have that information.
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Strong surge of SAL off the coast. Im pretty sure we wont see as many AEWs this year as we saw last year.

Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15950
Quoting Drakoen:
Levi you have surface wind shear...


Oh dang......sorry Aqua I got the wrong one. The shear maps only go up to 2008.

Here's another one though......does show above average in the Caribbean. About 6 knots less than in 2004.

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Interesting item, whats the usual mean for a period of inactivity for a certain region in the case of a Major Hurricane vs a Hurricane?
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Quoting Patrap:


El Nino 2009


lol
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
Quoting Drakoen:
That's good we could use a 2 week break.


Yeah, I had my tropical fix from 90L so a 2 week break would be nice.
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15950
Whats the rain totals for the Orlando area currently, and are you included in the disaster declarations?
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Well 90L could have been consider a storm. A wetter May usually implies that more troughs have been infiltrating the area which hasn't really been the case with the above average 500mb heights off the northeastern seaboard. 90L was more coincidental. We have had just a few more troughs than 2004 which is why our high is just slightly to the east of the May 2004 Mean A/B high position.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30830
Drak, does what he is saying relate to whether there will be a busy year or not for Florida?

Does the amount of precipitation that we see in a certain amount of time relate to whether we are going to have a busy hurricane season or not?
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Levi you have surface wind shear in that graphic...
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30830
Quoting plywoodstatenative:
Sfla, I remember someone that I know saying that in 05 and 04. Do not underestimate mother nature's power.


I lived in Orlando in 04' and it was really dry and we ended up getting pounded with hurricanes that year. I am not sure if it was a wet May for South Fl?
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Drak, so basically does it look like a repeat in a sense of the same type of conditions that we saw during 04? Or just part of what we saw?

Sfla: A wet May does not mean anything in the way of hurricane season. Our ecosystem unfortunately is controlled by what happens during hurricane season. Compare year to year and you will understand what I mean. On the topic of May: We have been wondering what happened to all the rain during spring and winter, well I think we got our answer.
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post 102 plywood
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Quoting aquak9:
151 - drak did you mean to post the '09 carib wind shear, too? Could you, please? for comparison for me, thank you.


2009 May Shear anomalies so far:



Shows near normal in the Caribbean for the most part....which would seem to conflict with this:



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ok, drak, thanks anyway.
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well, lopa...we were terribly dry to begin with. But, those are just dates on a calender...if Season™ wants, it can start early...I don't think it uses a proper man-made calender.

Coupla weeks this way or that, probably doesn't make that big of a difference.
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Quoting aquak9:
151 - drak did you mean to post the '09 carib wind shear, too? Could you, please? for comparison for me, thank you.


It's not letting me get to that graphic unfortunately.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30830
Btw let Amy know that I will take my crow medium rare with some seasoning. I called this rainmaker a dry storm on Monday.
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Quoting Drakoen:


it?


A wet May.
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I remember earlier this week speaking about what appeared to be a cut-off low that was near the bahamas when we had this issue of rain. It was part of the low that is now pounding rain into the Mississippi region.

K8, is that the low you are speaking about? I know that our local forecast office was talking about an Upper Level Low that was supposed to park itself over South Fla this week.
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151 - drak did you mean to post the '09 carib wind shear, too? Could you, please? for comparison for me, thank you.
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Quoting aquak9:
lopa, yeah I'm usually treading lightly in here. Ni harm, no foul.

Just trying to get my main question answered- where do compare, now vs '04, at this time?


Well even though I spent 13 years in the Air Force as a Flight Engineer and study basic meteorology
as part of my job I am no expert..
I do know that in the few years as a member here most of the people with the knowledge to help others are on this board right now
minus maybe 1 or 2 but right now they are on the board!
;=)

As far as 2004 goes..
I know that those heavy Hurricanes seasons like 2004,2005,etc.. were proceeded with a very dry month of May.
Is there a connection? Not sure but last year there was some talk about it on here..
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Sfla, I remember someone that I know saying that in 05 and 04. Do not underestimate mother nature's power.
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Quoting sfla82:
The wet May we are having in South Fla is great for two reasons....First it helps put a dent in this drought, and we get another quiet year from all the hurricanes and tropical storms down here. It was already calling for a quiet year anyway for the tropics for us but either way we will take the good news!!!!


it?
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30830
no no no, Levi, those were helpful! I do a lot better with visuals than with words. I compared back and forth, and I agree with you, homegrown troubles.

Thank you for taking the time to post that. Tick, tock, tick, tock...watch wait and wonder.
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Quoting plywoodstatenative:
Drak,

Any correlation to how active the ITCZ is in the Pacific compared to what type of early activity we might see here in our basin?


No. The EPAC has a more venting upper atmospheric circulation with the upward MJO phase. We don't.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30830
im more concerned with a surface low moving north from bahamas
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The wet May we are having in South Fla is great for two reasons....First it helps put a dent in this drought, and we get another quiet year from all the hurricanes and tropical storms down here. It was already calling for a quiet year anyway for the tropics for us but either way we will take the good news!!!!
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2004 also experienced anomalously strong wind shear in the Caribbean for the month of May. Even more so than we see now. 2004:

Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30830
Drak,

Any correlation to how active the ITCZ is in the Pacific compared to what type of early activity we might see here in our basin?
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That's good we could use a 2 week break.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30830

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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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